Perhaps the most wide renown Dr. Corydon Palmer achieved came from his creation of what has become known as “Palmer notation,” a system used by dentists to associate information to a specific tooth. Although superseded by the FDI World Dental Federation notation in the United States, it continues to be used by orthodontists, dental students and practitioners in the United Kingdom.
Some confusion has arisen as to the authorship of Palmer notation: At at least one Website, a Dr. “Homer Palmer of Ohio” has been credited. But most sources have Dr. Corydon Palmer as the author, and indeed Dr. Palmer himself described his work in the March, 1891, issue of The Dental Cosmos (Volume 33, Issue 3, pp. 194-198, to be explicit!). The notation program had already been sketchily described years earlier, in the October 1870 issue of the same journal, and this later article was obviously meant to affirm his authorship. Papers had been published on “the Hillischer System of Dental Notation,” which is “substantially the same as mine,” he wrote. “I have only to add that the published record makes clear my claim to be the first to suggest a distinctively dental notation which nearly twenty years later was without credit to its author … I respectfully submit that in justice to myself and for the credit of the profession in America the system of four groups of eight numerals should be termed The Palmer Dental Notation.”
The Palmer notation consists of a symbol (┘└ ┐┌) designating in which quadrant the tooth is found and a number indicating the position from the midline. Adult teeth are numbered 1 to 8, with deciduous teeth indicated by a letter A to E. Hence the left and right maxillary central incisor would have the same number, "1", but the right one would have the symbol, "┘", underneath it, while the left one would have, "└".
Orientation of the chart is traditionally "dentist's view:" the patient's right corresponds to notation chart left. The designations "left" and "right" on the chart, however, correspond to the patient's left and right, respectively.
With the move from written dental notes to electronic records, some difficulty in reproducing the symbols was encountered. On a standard keyboard 'slash' and 'backslash' may be used as an approximation to the symbols with numbers placed before or afterwards; hence 3/ is 3┘ and /5 is ┌5 .
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